All Shook Up: The Life and Death of Elvis Presley

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9780439095044: All Shook Up: The Life and Death of Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley all quivering hips and pouty lips hit the scene in the 1950s, singing songs kids couldn't resist. Today, Elvis' image and music are as much a part of American popular culture as ever. This perceptive biography illuminates the overwhelming life of an American icon, from his extraordinary rise to his final fall. ALL SHOOK UP is a must-read for Elvis fans young and old.

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From Publishers Weekly:

This personable biography of the man who swayed his hips and ushered in the age of rock 'n' roll chronicles not only the turbulent life of Elvis but the sweeping shifts he brought to popular culture. "Before Elvis Presley, black music was separate from white music. There was no such thing as `teenage music,' " Denenberg (An American Hero: The True Story of Charles A. Lindbergh) asserts in his introduction. But he clearly demonstrates how this shy boy from the wrong side of the tracks in Tupelo, Miss., quickly changed all that. The author describes Elvis's relationship with his overprotective mother (for instance, she gave him a guitar for his 11th birthday instead of a bicycle because she thought it would be "safer") as well as the early (and seemingly unerring) influence of Sam Phillips and, of course, his long association with Colonel Parker however "ill-fated and destructive." Lyrics by Chuck Berry, The Who, the Beatles and Emmylou Harris open each chapter, and quotes from other musicians pay homage to Elvis's legacy. For example, Bruce Springsteen remembers watching Elvis sing on The Ed Sullivan Show at age nine and saying "I wanna be just like that." The author effectively portrays the psychological motivation, professional compromises and seedy characters that contributed to Elvis's downward spiral from rock sensation to drugged-out Vegas lounge act. Readers will likely come away from this volume with a new appreciation of the pop icon. Ages 10-14.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Gr. 6-9. Veteran biographer Denenberg tries something a little different here. He makes his writing style match his subject. It's colloquial, a little edgy, sometimes difficult to sustain, but the tone will capture readers' interest. The book gets off to a bit of a rocky start. For instance, Denenberg says that before Elvis there was no such thing as teenage music--or teenagers for that matter. So who were the bobby-soxers? The writing can also be sloppy. In one chapter, Elvis is doing gigs in Cleveland, Jersey City, and Long Island; a few pages later, he's "still only a regional, not a national phenomenon." What Denenberg gets right is Presley's life. Elvis' hardscrabble childhood; the fact that his best music was made before most people ever heard of him; the malevolent influence of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker; Elvis' almost inevitable slide toward early death. All are covered in short, hard-hitting paragraphs that aim at catching the singer's syntax ("He liked to flirt, and now, with an audience full of girls, well, it was like he died and went to heaven. No, this was better than heaven. Heaven couldn't be this good"). And when it all goes bad, Elvis' cocoon couldn't protect him "from the emptiness and the loneliness." It couldn't protect him from himself. It was not dark yet, but it was getting there." Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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